For a Christmas tree farmer, it takes year round efforts to reap the rewards of a product that generally has a month-long demand.
Edward Hertlen has farmed and owned D&E Christmas Tree Farm with his wife, Dee, on Hannah Road in southern Douglas County, for the past 12 years.
“We have to do grass cutting in the summer,” said Dee Hertlen, “then in late September to early October we start trimming the trees. If you do it earlier, the trees keep growing, so you have to do it again.”
The market for their product, however, usually lasts from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve.
And with growing Christmas trees, patience is a virtue.
“We had to plant five years before selling our first tree,” said Edward Hertlen.
The couple grows Leyland cypress, Carolina sapphire, Virginia pine and blue ice varieties on 15 acres. They begin planting in January.
“We planted 300 more last year,” said Mr. Hertlen, who said they have planted as many as a thousand in past years.
“At one time,” he said, “we’ve had 5,000 trees planted.”
Prices for Leyland cypress and Carolina sapphires run $4 per foot, while Virginia pine and blue ice cost $3 per foot.
Information: (770) 942-0715
Perry DeWeese, owner of Sleepy Hollow Christmas Tree Farm, off Brownsville Road in Powder Springs, has been growing Christmas trees for 33 years.
Now retired from Lockheed, the farming endeavor is still a family affair.
“I put four kids through college with this tree farm,” said DeWeese.
The “choose and cut” operation boasts seven acres of trees on his 33-acre property where Douglas, Cobb and Paulding counties come together.
He grows Leyland cypress, Carolina sapphire, blue ice and Virginia pine, but also offers Fraser firs grown in the higher altitude of North Carolina.
“I work 12 months out of the year,” said the Christmas tree farmer. “It takes five years and good weather. It is like any other farming operation.”
DeWeese begins planting at the end of December in order for winter rains to help get the trees established. In October, the Virginia pines are tinted green because their bright green needles naturally fade somewhat in the winter, he said.
“No one wants to buy a yellow Christmas tree,” he acknowledged.
Prices are $6 per foot for “choose and cut” and $7 per foot for the Fraser firs.
Information: (770) 942-6770.